Author Guidelines

Information Needed for Manuscript Submission
Scientific Significance Statement
Manuscript Format and Order for Initial Submission
Audience and Writing Style for L&O Letters
Author Contribution Statement
Data and Metadata Policy
FAQs for the Data and Metadata Policy
Article Licenses, Fees, and Metrics
Ethical Publishing Practices
Manuscript Review Criteria and Peer Review
Article Types

To make submission as easy as possible, L&O Letters  has minimal style requirements and accepts Express Submissions of a single merged file at initial submission. In addition, instead of cover letters, we ask authors to fill in an online submission form at the time of submission (see below). Please see Aims & Scope and Article Types prior to planning your submission. After reading the guidelines below, click here to submit your manuscript online. Any questions prior to submission can be sent to the Editor-in-Chief [] or Managing Editor []. In particular, we encourage you to contact the Editor-in-Chief regarding journal scope and the appropriateness of your manuscript for the journal. By submitting your manuscript to this journal, you accept that your manuscript will be screened for plagiarism.

Important note regarding manuscript preparation and peer-review: We require authors to provide a Scientific Significance Statement that will be reviewed and incorporated into the peer-review process. It is essential for authors to construct this statement carefully so that it matches the content of the manuscript. See below for detailed instructions. We highly recommend that all co-authors help to write this statement and that it is not left until the time of submission. Manuscripts without scientific significance statements or with statements that do not follow the detailed instructions will be returned without review. We expect authors to be realistic in their statement of the relevance of their work and to not oversell (or undersell) the contributions of their work.

Information Needed for Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts and related materials should be submitted to L&O Letters  at If you have not already done so, create an account at the submission site by clicking on the “Create an Account” button. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us at Authors should be prepared to provide the following information in the online submission form at the time of submission in lieu of a cover letter:

Step 1. Article type, Title, Abstract (150 words max), and Scientific Significance Statement

Step 2. Keywords (called Search Terms) and Data Availability Statement
Please provide Search Terms to describe the content of your manuscript. Include the keywords and phrases in your abstract, significance statement and title. Provide additional relevant keywords and synonyms for those keywords as they relate to your article. Keywords are not only important for search engine optimization, they are also used by abstracting and indexing services as a mechanism to tag research content.

Step 3. Authors, Institutions, and Author Contribution Statement

Step 4. Suggested Reviewers, at least 3
Please suggest reviewers whom you feel would provide a fair and constructive review, and with whom you do not have a major conflict of interest. Please also consider soliciting a diverse list of reviewers across country of origin, career stage, gender, etc.

Step 5. Manuscript Summary Information and Author Declarations
e.g., funding, number of words, tables, figures, publication charges, conflicts of interest, optional comments (See the manuscript submission site for details)

Step 6. File upload
For express submission, you may upload a single PDF inthis order

Step 7. Review and submit

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Scientific Significance Statement

  • Overview: One of the goals of the peer review process is to identify the most important and significant scientific studies that create new knowledge and move science forward in important ways. However, identifying and predicting which studies will have the most important and lasting effects on the science is notoriously difficult to do for two main reasons. First, it is not always easy to predict what important or novel research will advance science. Second, authors and reviewers are not always aligned on what the most important contribution is for a manuscript during the review process because the contribution is not clearly stated by the authors, or because the best justification of the work is buried in the cover letter, but not part of the manuscript. Although we can do our best to address the first challenge through rigorous peer review, the second challenge can be addressed by standardizing the information requested from authors related to the contribution of their work. Therefore, we ask authors to identify the important contribution of their work in a standardized way so that peer-reviewers can more explicitly evaluate the scientific contributions of all manuscripts submitted to L&O Letters. This standardized format for L&O Letters  is called the ‘Scientific Significance Statement’, which we provide detailed instructions for below. Because of the importance of such a statement, it is published on the first page of every article in L&O Letters  to aid in communication across disciplines in the aquatic sciences.

  • How to write it: The ‘Scientific Significance Statement’ situates the work in a broad context, is less technical than the abstract, and is fully understandable to a general scientific audience outside the area of specialty of the work. It should NOT be a condensed version of the abstract. We recommend that authors write this statement well in advance of submitting the final manuscript because of its importance in the peer-review process. Any manuscript that does not include this statement or does not follow the basic structure will be returned to authors without review. Please include the following three elements in your statement with one sentence per element, written in paragraph form (do not include the words ‘element 1, etc.’). The statement should not exceed 125 words:

    Element 1. SET UP
    Describe the topic, issue, or theme studied in the paper. (At its core, what is the topic of the paper? Do not include what you found or why you did it; rather, describe the topic and if necessary, an important fact about it related to your study.)

    Element 2. CHALLENGE
    Present the challenge or knowledge gap that your study was intended to fill in general terms.

    Element 3. RESOLUTION
    Describe your key conclusion that fills the above knowledge gap, written in general terms that highlights the significance of the work.

  • Example statement for the published paper: Brooks, J.L. and S.I. Dodson. 1965. Predation, body size, and composition of plankton. Science 150:28-35.

  • Significance Statement: In lakes with landlocked populations of herring-like fish species, zooplankton communities have been found to be dominated by small-bodied species, with large-bodied species mostly absent. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations are not known. This study provides evidence for the ‘size-efficiency hypothesis’ that states that size-selective predation by zooplankton-feeding fish determine the competitive environment between the large- and small-bodied zooplankton, which provides a mechanistic explanation for these observed patterns in lakes with and without fish.

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Manuscript Format and Order for Initial Submission

To speed up the submission process, authors are encouraged to submit their manuscript as a single file, in MS-Word or as a PDF (separate files will also be accepted). We recommend that Letters- articles follow the IMRAD structure (introduction, methods, results, discussion); however, authors may use alternate article structures. All other article types should be structured in a clear and compelling way using subheadings to guide the reader, and with a strong thread or theme identified by the elements in the Scientific Significance Statement running throughout the manuscript to guide the reader.

Please provide all material needed for peer review in the following order:

Page 1 (title page):

Article type, Title, Author names and affiliations, indication of corresponding author, and author contribution statement

Page 2:

  • [single-space] Scientific significance statement, data availability statement, Abstract, and keywords (Include 3-6 keywords that best describe the manuscript. We expect overlap between title, abstract, scientific significance statement, and keywords.)
  • Text.[double-space] Please use continuous line numbers throughout the text as well as sub-headings.


Tables with legends

At the time of initial submission, we prefer that the table legends be placed on the same page as the table to make the review process easier. We recommend that tables are made using Word or other word processing software

Figures and legends

At the time of initial submission, we prefer that the figure legends be placed on the same page as the figure to make the review process easier. In addition, figures can be provided in the same file as the text as a single PDF document.

Please see these guidelines for electronic figures.

Accepted formats

JPEG (preferred), TIFF, EPS, PDF (high resolution)

File size and resolution

For accepted manuscripts, images should be supplied at a maximum 300 d.p.i. (exceeding this limit will make files too big for viewing/downloading); file size should not exceed 10 MB. Once authors are asked to submit a revised manuscript, they must submit individual figures as JPEGs (preferred), TIFF, EPS or PDF. Where applicable, files should be saved in RGB (not CMYK) for maximum color saturation and smaller file size.


References may be in any format, as long as they are consistent within the manuscript. However, upon publication, references will be formatted in the same style as Limnology & Oceanography. See below for details. In addition, all references cited in the text must appear in the References, and vice versa. An excessive number of citations to support a particular statement is discouraged. Limnology & Oceanography Letters encourages citations of both recent literature and the literature that originally establishes an argument.

For abbreviations of journal names refer to Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index (CASSI) or Biosis.

Make sure that each citation is complete, according to the following examples:

  • Article: Fenchel, T. 1986. Protozoan filter feeding. Prog. Protistol. 1: 65-113.
  • Articles with a Digital Object Identifier (doi): De Pol-Holz, R., O. Ulloa, L. Dezileau, J. Kaiser, F. Lamy, and D. Hebbeln. 2006. Melting of the patagonian ice sheet and deglacial perturbations of the nitrogen cycle in the eastern South Pacific. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33: L04704, doi:10.1029/2005GL02447
  • Book: Stumm, W., and J. Morgan. 1981. Aquatic chemistry, 2nd ed.Wiley.
  • Chapter: Codispoti, L. A. 1983. Nitrogen in upwelling systems, p. 513-564. In E. J. Carpenter and D. G. Capone [eds.], Nitrogen in the marine environment. Academic.
  • Thesis: Kimmance, S. A. 2001. The interactive effect of temperature and food concentration on plankton grazing and growth rates. Ph.D. thesis. Univ. of Liverpool.
  • Websites: A website may be referred to only if it is associated with an organization that is committed to maintaining it in perpetuity. Websites are referred to only in the text (provide URL and last accessed date) and are not included in the list of references. Personal or university-based websites are not allowed because such websites are prone to disappear when the scientist who created them moves or loses interest in material.

Recommended format that will be used for final publication

L&O Letters  will use the APA style with articles listed in alphabetical order in the references section; and, citations in the text chronological, then alphabetical separated by semi-colons. Example: “(Smith et al. 1984; Karl and Craven 1988; Korobi 1997, 1998).”

Supplemental Information:

Supporting Information can be a useful way for an author to include important but ancillary information in support of the article. It is the policy of L&O Letters that figures and tables that are essential to the conclusions of your article must be in the main body of the article rather than the supplemental information section. Examples of Supporting Information include additional tables, figures, movie files, audio clips, 3D structures, and other related but non-essential multimedia files. Supporting Information should be cited within the article text, and a descriptive legend should be included. It is published as supplied by the author, and a proof is not made available prior to publication; for these reasons, authors should provide any Supporting Information in the desired final format. Data should not be provided in the supplemental file. Rather, data need to be deposited in an online data repository. See here for details. For further information on recommended file types and requirements for submission, please visit:

Additional Recommendations for L&O Letters articles

  • Titles should be informative, accurate, clear and concise. We encourage titles that concisely state the article’s main conclusion or pose a compelling question.
  • The maximum abstract length is 150 words. It should provide more detail than the Scientific Significance Statement (see below). The abstract should be a short summary of the work, including objective or research question, approach, results and take home message.
  • Introduction: The introduction should give sufficient background information (related to Element 1-2 of the scientific significance statement) for the reader to understand the importance of the knowledge gap and how the study will/has filled that gap. In addition, the final paragraph of the introduction should clearly state the research questions, hypotheses or goals of the study that are directly linked to the above elements of the significance statement.
  • Recommendation for figures and tables for the journal: We encourage authors to include color visuals that are clear, compelling, and informative. Color adds clarity and visual interest. There is no extra charge for color because L&O Letters  is an online journal. High-quality photographs are encouraged. Authors must obtain permission from the original publisher for re-use of previously published figures or tables. Please cite the source as per the requirements of the original publisher.

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Audience and Writing Style for L&O Letters

One of our primary goals for L&O Letters  is to foster deeper communication across the diverse subdisciplines and habitats within the aquatic sciences. However, such communication can be hampered by specialization and writing only to a narrow community of scholars. Therefore, we are providing specific writing guidelines and resources to reach broad scientific audiences. Fortunately, our recommendations apply to writing manuscripts in general, so authors can use these guidelines for manuscripts that may be submitted to other journals as well. Please see the Manuscript Format Section Author Guidelines for specific formatting requirements for the journal; here, we only discuss audience and writing style.


The audience for L&O Letters  is the full range of aquatic scientists studying all aspects of freshwater and marine systems. The intent in establishing this the journal is to publish and share important results from the full range of aquatic sciences. Thus, authors must make their work understandable to aquatic scientists outside of their specific research area, while still providing sufficient detail and background for specialists in the author’s field to understand and be convinced of the findings.

Writing style

We expect authors to use active voice throughout the manuscript, and to use first person where applicable (“I measured….”; “We measured….”). Write in short, clear, jargon-free sentences divided into short paragraphs. If there is a term that is specific to your field or subfield that may not be understood by readers from other fields, please define it. Emphasize the importance of the findings in broad terms, such as what we require in the Scientific Significance Statement. Keep acronyms and abbreviations to a minimum, but if you must use them, spell out the full term at first use with the abbreviation or acronym in parentheses. Common abbreviations, such as “PCR,” need not be spelled out. All submissions will be edited by the journal editors for content, style, grammar, and spelling.

We highly recommend these specific books related to scientific writing to aid authors in writing their manuscripts: (1) For a resource on writing more effective sentences and paragraphs, see Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, by Joseph Williams (University of Chicago Press); and, (2) For resources on writing clear, effective and well-structured manuscripts, see Writing Science, by Joshua Schimel (Oxford University Press) and Houston, We have a Narrative, by Randy Olson (University of Chicago Press).

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Author Contribution Statement

L&O Letters  requires an author contribution statement that indicates the contributions of all authors; such statements improve communication of individual contributions in multi-authored publications. Although we recognize different levels of contributions of co-authors, it is expected that each author of a manuscript has made important contributions to the work, and we do not support the practice of honorary authorship. Additionally, there must always be one or more authors (often the lead or co-leads) accountable for the integrity of the data, analysis, and presentation of findings as a whole.
Composing an author contribution statement: Statements should include major components of the research process as necessary, including designing of the research, performing the research (be specific as to which components), contributing new tools or methods (provide specifics), analyzing data, and writing the manuscript. Because all authors acknowledge that they have reviewed and approved the final manuscript when the manuscript is submitted, the statement to this effect should not be included in the author contribution statement. For authors who served as equal co-leads of the manuscript, please indicate this fact by using an asterisk on the manuscript title page. Authors may use recent papers published in L&O Letters  as a guide for this statement, or the example below.

Recommended format: AST and EKT co-led the entire manuscript effort and contributed equally. AST, EKT, and BFL came up with the research question and designed the study approach. AST and EKT conducted the statistical analyses. BFL provided the new statistical model; MTB, AST, and EKT designed the field survey, and MTB conducted the field survey. AST and EKT wrote the paper.

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Data and Metadata Policy

Authors of published articles in L&O Letters must make the data and metadata that support the findings of their articles available in a publicly accessible data repository. Providing the underlying data and metadata for articles in L&O Letters ensures that sufficient evidence in support of authors’ claims and conclusions is provided to current and future readers. We also encourage authors to strive for fully reproducible research, in which other research products are provided in addition to data and metadata, including the code and input files. At L&O Letters, we are strongly supportive of the FAIR Data Principles (Wilkinson et al. 2016) and we strive to increasingly adopt strategies to more fully apply these principles.
Our data policy only requires data underlying the submitted paper—in other words, we do not expect authors to provide data associated with other parts of the study that were not included in the final manuscript. Under rare conditions, L&O Letters editors will consider embargoes on the release of data or special circumstances that prevent our data policy from being implemented as written. All such inquiries should be directed to the Editor-in-Chief. Below are FAQs about our data policy.

Appropriate data repositories: Data must be placed in a publicly accessible repository, including subject-specific repositories or generalist repositories such as Dryad or Figshare. It is the responsibility of the author to obtain and provide the link to the data once the manuscript is in the revision stage (see below for details about when data are to be made available during the peer-review process).
Integration with existing data repositories: Currently L&O Letters is integrated with the Dryad repository in which authors receive a 10% discount (but, authors must pay the discounted fee), and authors will receive a provisional private reviewer URL link. However, we allow data to be deposited in any appropriate data repository, preferably one with longterm archiving strategies. For example, laboratory or project websites do not count as institutional repositories. Please see for a list of research data repositories. If authors cannot afford to pay additional fees, there are free options for data repositories such as figshare.
Appropriate ‘license’ to give your data: We require at a minimum that you give your data a license that allows for the free reuse of the data, where it does not violate protection of human subjects or other subject privacy concerns. In other words, you may not state that the data can only be used upon contact with authors. We recommend the create commons license of CC BY at a minimum for the data that are provided by L&O Letters authors.
Use of already-published datasets: It is becoming increasingly common for authors to use one or more datasets that are ALREADY in a data repository. The question then is whether authors of the manuscript that use such data are still required to include a data availability statement and to make the data underlying the L&O Letters manuscript available in a repository ‘again’. The simple answer is yes. We require the authors to provide the exact dataset that was used in their analyses because it is rare that an author will use the exact dataset that they download without some modification or ‘cleaning’. Further, much of the time, authors combine different sources of data, which again can by influenced by decisions authors make in the data-cleaning and integration step. Therefore, we require authors to place their exact datasets that were used in their analysis for their L&O Letters article into a repository of their choosing, that provide the link to the original data source, but also provide information as to exactly how the data were processed, integrated, or changed for analysis in their article.
Data provided in article versus a data repository: In some cases, especially for small datasets, authors have provided such data in tables in a supplemental file or even in a table in the article itself. We do not allow data to be provided in a supplemental file because such a practice does not meet the FAIR guidelines for data practice. We require authors to create a table that is then deposited in a repository with the associated metadata file describing the source of the data and all of the required information in the L&O Letters Metadata form (see below). The exception to this rule is when the table is so small that it is included as a table in the article itself. We allow this and we do not expect authors to put such data into a data repository. Please contact the editor-in-chief for any questions related to this policy.

Data Availability Statement and Metadata Preparation

At the time of initial submission, authors will be asked to provide the name of the data repository that will ultimately contain the dataset that underlie the analysis presented in the manuscript. To prepare data and metadata, authors should use the Metadata Template. Note that, at the time of initial submission, the data do not have to be uploaded to a repository or made available unless requested through the peer-review process. However, for authors who have been asked to revise and resubmit their manuscripts, authors must deposit their data in a publicly-accessible data repository, provide the permanent or temporary URL for the data, and upload the metadata form to L&O Letters  when submitting the revised manuscript. To facilitate a faster and smoother review process, we encourage authors to prepare the data and metadata prior to manuscript submission to avoid undue delays at the manuscript revision stage. Although not required, we strongly encourage authors to also make their code available along with their data for use by others and to encourage reproducibility.

Metadata Preparation and Template

Metadata provides sufficient structured information for other scientists to understand and use your data. Please download the L&O Letters  Metadata Template to create your metadata; you will need the following information (descriptions of each item are provided in the template).Title of the dataset and an abstract that describes the study and associated data in text form  

  • Keywords
  • People and organizations associated with the data
  • Usage Rights
  • Research Project information
  • Coverage details (including spatial coverage of the sample sites and temporal coverage)
  • Methods and sampling
  • Detailed description of the variables and units for each column of the dataset

To summarize, L&O Letters  requires the following:

For initial manuscript submissions:

  • Required statement: Data will be made available in the [repository name] repository.
  • Required Metadata Form: Authors must fill in the metadata form and upload it as one of the manuscript files.

For revised manuscripts that are submitted for major or minor revision:

  • Required statement: Data are available in the [repository name] repository at [URL for the specific dataset].
  • Required revised Metadata form: Authors should have already provided the metadata form and uploaded it as one of the manuscript files, but the authors will need to revised it to include the revised URL of the dataset.
  • Manuscripts will be returned without review if these are not included: the data availability statement with the URL, the data citation in the manuscript references section, and the metadata form.

How to cite your data in your manuscript
You will provide information about where to find your data in two places in your manuscript to best meet the current practices for data citation.

  1. The L&O Letters Data Availability statement. The statement is a footnote that is on the first page of the article that must clearly state the active URL for the dataset. See above for details.
  2. The reference section of your article. Somewhere in your methods section, you will discuss your data as being available in a repository, or just cite a statement about your data and cite the data as you would a published article. Then, you include a citation to the data in your reference section. See example below:
    In your methods section: e.g. We collected samples from 50 sites for organic matter, orthophosphate, nitrate, and macroinvertebrate biomass (Lopez et al. 2017).
    In your references section: e.g. Lopez, P.L., A.R. Smith, T. Xiao. 2017. Data for stream nutrients, organic matter, and macroinvertebrates in a forested region. Data repository name. DOI of the dataset (e.g., Dataset accessed 11/12/2017.

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FAQs for the Data and Metadata Policy

  • What if I have specific questions about the data policy or do not want to share all of the data?

    Please contact the editor-in-chief directly to discuss this policy and to get guidance on implementing it.

  • Where do I put my data and other materials?

    It is recommended that authors use a data repository that is most appropriate for their data such as Dryad (see the Registry of Research Data Repositories. We also strongly recommend that the code and input files are made available with the data or in a separate repository (such as Github, Zenodo, or Figshare).

  • When do I need to make the data and metadata available to the journal?

    For initial manuscript submission: Authors must provide a short Data Availability Statement that describes how the data will be accessed if it is to be accepted (i.e., what data repository will you use; and, if available, provide a temporary link to the data). The Data Availability Statement will be reviewed by editors. In addition, if necessary, the authors may be asked to make the dataset available to reviewers and editors prior to decisions.

    For submitting a manuscript revision: Authors need to provide the link to the data in addition to the metadata form (the metadata should also be stored directly with the data at this point). See above for a description of the required metadata and the template that authors can use to create their metadata for each dataset. The data citation and the ‘Data availability Statement’ will be published along with the paper if accepted. The paper can be rejected at this point if sufficient data are not provided to support the conclusions of the paper and if any of the requested information is not provided or lacking.

  • What happens if I do not provide the name of the data repository (at the time of initial submission) or I do not provide the URL for the data (at the time of manuscript revision)?

    Your manuscript will be returned without review

  • How will data availability be evaluated during peer review at L&O Letters?

    This is an actively-discussed area in publishing right now and L&O Letters  will continually be evaluating our procedures for this issue. Currently, our policy is to implement different evaluation steps at each stage of the manuscript review. At the initial manuscript submission stage, the editors will ensure that the chosen repository is an appropriate one for the data associated with the manuscript. At the manuscript-revision stage, editors will review the metadata form, examine the data provided in the data repository (using the author-provided URL) to ensure that it matches the Metadata Form, and to check that the data in the repository are sufficient for what is include in the manuscript. We will actively work with authors at each stage to provide guidance in any aspect of this data policy because data availability of published works is so important to ensure scientific integrity and reproducibility.

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Article Licenses, Fees, and Metrics

All articles will be open-access and published under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). Please see here for full details. Article processing charges (APC) for publishing in L&O Letters will be $2,500. Members of ASLO will receive a 22% discount (for an APC charge of $1,950). Please see here for further details.

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Ethical Publishing Practices

Conflict of Interest Reporting and ASLO Journal Policy Statement

The full policy statement regarding the conflict of interest for submissions from the ASLO Board, Publication Committee members, and submission from Editors-in-Chief can be viewed here

L&O Letters  abides by the practices of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE,, and as a Wiley journal, will follow the code of Conduct for Journal Editors. In particular, this journal will follow the guidelines related to article retractions ( Ethical violations, such as those related to copyright violations, republishing, plagiarizing (including self-plagiarizing), falsification of data or results, misattribution of authors, or misattribution of citations will be addressed by the Editor-in-Chief in a prompt and thorough way.

Corrections and Retractions

Authors should call to the attention of the Editor-in-Chief any significant errors in their published manuscripts as soon as possible after they become aware of these errors. The Editor-in-Chief may authorize the publication of a correction, if the error is relatively minor and was inadvertent. Serious errors or discovery of fraudulent materials in a published paper may result in the retraction of the paper. L&O Letters  follows the Retraction Guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) with regard to any corrections or retractions. An author who submits a manuscript to L&O Letters  for possible publication is assumed to understand and agree with these Guidelines. The Guidelines and further information on publication fraud are available online at

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Manuscript review criteria and peer review

Criteria for publication

L&O-Letters provides explicit guidelines for authors to prepare manuscripts that meet the requirements for review and publication. Manuscripts that do not meet the scope of the journal, do not follow the author guidelines, or do not meet the below criteria for publication will be rejected without review. Manuscripts that are reviewed by L&O-Letters will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The manuscript describes results from an original study that has not been published elsewhere
  • The authors clearly state how the research advances scientific knowledge, the context for the conclusions of the study, and the potential significance to the field
  • The work represents an important advancement that will be of broad interest to the full aquatic science community
  • The manuscript is broadly understandable to any aquatic scientist outside of the authors’ specific area of expertise.
  • The analyses and study design are technically sound and described in sufficient detail.
  • The results are presented in a visually effective way, particularly for a non-specialist aquatic scientist.
  • The conclusions are well supported by the results.
  • The authors have written a data availability statement that includes a link to the data repository where the data that underlie the analysis are/will be available.
  • The manuscript adheres to the ethical standards for research and publication as described by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE,
  • The article meets the L&O-Letters guidelines for publication regarding reporting, formatting, and data availability (see author guidelines for the journal)

Editorial and peer-review process

L&O-Letters aims for rigorous and fair peer review, that is also rapid as long as speed does not compromise the rigor of the peer review. Authors will submit manuscripts to the ScholarOne website,

Overview of peer-review process

Submitted manuscripts will be initially reviewed by the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) or one of the Senior Editors to verify that the work falls within the scope of L&O-Letters and is otherwise appropriate for peer review. Papers will then be assigned to one of the Associate Editors (and sometimes one of the Senior Editors) who will then assign anonymous peer reviewers, synthesize reviews, and make a recommendation to the EIC, who will make the final decision. Authors must suggest a minimum of three appropriate reviewers. Suggested reviewers should not have a conflict of interest; reviewers will be asked to disclose any potential conflicts of interest at the time of acceptance of the review assignment. Reviewers are asked to review the manuscript based on the above criteria for publication. Manuscripts will generally only have one round of ‘major revisions’.

Procedures implemented at LO-Letters  to foster rigorous and fair peer review

Although L&O-Letters does not use open-peer review, we strive for transparency in our operations and decisions by explicitly stating the peer-review procedures of the journal. In addition, to aid in transparency to authors, we implement three important elements to our peer review process:

(1) Communication with editors is encouraged
We encourage authors to contact the EIC, Senior Editors, or the Associate Editors at any point in the review process. We strongly encourage authors to contact us prior to submission to discuss the suitability of the paper for L&O Letters, and strategies for successfully publishing in this journal.

(2) No confidential comments from reviewers to editors
We do not provide the option of ‘confidential reviewer comments’ from reviewers to editors. The existence of this review layer suggests that additional criteria are used in manuscript assessment, criteria that the authors are unable to see. When confidential comments are required due to issues of ethics, data integrity, conflicts of interest, or other, then these should be communicated directly to the EIC through email.

(3) Cross-peer review
We provide reviewers the opportunity to review and comment on each other’s anonymous comments. For most manuscripts, the Associate Editors will send anonymous copies of all reviews to reviewers 48 hrs before they make a decision. We do not expect every reviewer to comment on reviews. Rather, we expect reviewers to quickly read other reviews and identify possible problems. The editors will take such comments into account when evaluating the manuscript outcome. This additional step aims to not unduly delay the editorial process, while  providing an additional check of the peer review system.

Principles of fair, constructive peer-review at LO-Letters

L&O-Letters follows the COPE guidelines for ethical peer-review (for further information: Below is a modified list from that website:

  • Reviews should be conducted objectively
  • Reviews that are hostile, inflammatory, or that contain personal criticism of the authors are inappropriate. Reviews with such comments will be returned to the reviewer for revision prior to being shared with authors
  • Reviewers should express their views clearly with supporting arguments and references
  • Reviewers should respect the confidentiality of material supplied to them and should not discuss unpublished manuscripts or use the information in their own work
  • If a reviewer wants to pass the review request to a colleague, they should decline the review request and provide the alternate’s details to the editor
  • Reviewers may conduct joint reviews with others (such as graduate students) if they contact the editor or editorial office prior to sharing the paper.
  • Reviews should not be influenced by the origin of the manuscript or by the nationality, the gender, the career stage, or other characteristic of the authors, or by funding or commercial considerations
  • All comments from reviewers are shared with authors to aid in transparency in the decision-making process
  • Reviewers should agree to review only if they are fairly confident that they can return the review within the request time-frame. Reviewers should contact the Associate Editor as soon as possible for an extension if there are unforeseen delays
  • Reviewers should decline to review if they:

    • Have conflicts of interests (see below); seek advice from the AE or EIC if unsure
    • Are asked to review a manuscript that is very similar to one they have in preparation or under consideration
  • If reviewers identify a conflict of interest after beginning the review, they should contact the Associate Editor immediately

Conflicts of interest for potential reviewers or Associate Editors handling manuscripts (see:

  • Close personal or financial relationship
  • Employed by the same institution. There may be certain exceptions to this case, such as exceptionally large institutions with few interactions among departments; in these cases, the potential reviewer should seek the advice of the EIC or AE, or state the conflict at the time of the review
  • Co-author on an article within the past 5 years. There may be certain exceptions to this case, such as being coauthor on a paper with >10 authors; in these cases the potential reviewer should seek the advice of the EIC or AE, or state the conflict at the time of the review
  • Collaborator on a grant or research project within the past 5 years
  • Supervisor of, or supervised by, the author within the past 5 years

Policy on Submission of Preprints

L&O-Letters will consider submissions that have previously been made available, either on a preprint server like arXiv, bioRxiv, or PeerJ PrePrints. Any such submissions must, however, not have been published in a scientific journal, book or other venue that could be considered formal publication. Authors must inform the editorial office at submission if their paper has been made available as a preprint, and they must agree to the open-access policy of this journal.

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Article Types

L&O Letters will publish three types of articles—Letters, Current Evidence, and Essays. All articles should be written to be understandable to the full range of aquatic scientists. Letters should be original research that can include any approach (e.g., theoretical, empirical, experimental, modeling). Systems of study can include any aquatic system and scales of study can range from molecules to global cycles. Studies that integrate across disciplinary perspectives, boundaries, scales of space or time, or aquatic system types are strongly encouraged, but not required. Articles that include applications of science to management or policy that are broadly applicable to other aquatic systems are also welcome.


Short-format articles that present original innovative research advancing knowledge in an area of aquatic science. Authors must articulate how knowledge is advanced and the potential influence of their work and they must write clearly and concisely for a broad aquatic science audience.

- 3,000 words maximum (includes introduction, methods, results, and discussion; excluding abstract, significance statement and all other text) and 3-5 visuals (tables, figures, or boxes); 30 cited references (authors may petition to have more citations at the time of submission)

- Letters should include: Significance statement, abstract, introduction, results, discussion, and references

Current Evidence

A concise synthesis of the current status of a subject in the aquatic sciences that is topical, in need of evaluation or assessment, or is an emerging issue that has not been fully explored. The emphasis is should be on current understanding and identification of knowledge gaps rather than a lengthy historical review. Syntheses across the aquatic sciences are strongly encouraged, although not required. For controversial topics, emphasis should be placed on unbiased presentation of evidence for and against differing viewpoints. The intent of these articles is to articulate clearly the current knowledge of a topic, the current uncertainties and the needed research. Papers that relate to policy-relevant scientific topics are welcome.

- 5,000-7000 words, although shorter are allowed (includes main-body text only; excluding abstract, significance statement, acknowledgements, and references) and 3-6 visuals (tables, figures or boxes), 50 cited references (authors may petition to have more citations at the time of submission)]

- Current Evidence articles should be written as a review-type article with sub-headings related to major categories of topics to be covered in the article. Authors are encouraged to include a section about future directions or research gaps.

- Current Evidence articles should include: Significance statement, abstract, introduction, sub-sections (with author-defined sub-titles), and references. Articles using the traditional format used in the Letters articles are not allowed in this category.


Essays should include ideas, concepts, hypotheses, or opinions to stimulate discussion, debate or research. Essays can be written as opinion pieces that are well-reasoned with well-supported arguments and ideas, but where extensive citations are not needed or available. Essays should be written in clear and general language that are understandable to a broad audience.

- 2,500 words maximum (includes main-body text only; excluding significance statement, acknowledgements, and references) and 1-3 visuals (figures, tables, or boxes), 20 cited references (authors may petition to have more citations at the time of submission)

- Essays should include: Significance statement, text (sub-headings are optional), references. Note that essays do not include an abstract.